President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday assured South Africans that power blackouts that have hit the country over the past few weeks are expected to end this weekend, downplaying concerns that sabotage was behind power supplier Eskom’s regular loadshedding.Speaking to journalists while campaigning for the governing African National Congress in Johannesburg’s Thokoza township ahead of Monday’s local government elections, Ramaphosa said he was “confident the intermittent power outages being experienced by Eskom would be resolved.”
South Africans are fuming at the constant power blackouts, and are demanding Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s head to roll over the power failures that have hit the country hard for some time now.
But Ramaphosa said the intermittent power outages were not intentional, assuring South Africans that this problem would be solved by the weekend.
On whether heads would roll in his cabinet or at Eskom, he said for now his obsession was getting power restored – insisting that “the rest would follow.”
He said Eskom was implementing Stage Four load-shedding after it lost a large part of its generating capacity.
The country would be moving to Stage Three loadshedding from 2100 GMT tonight (Friday), reduced to Stage Two from 0300 GMT on Saturday, the power utility announced.
Many South Africans, however, are unhappy to be plunged into the dark with no solution in sight – just days away from the crucial municipal elections on 1 November.
The ANC said in a statement that it suspected sabotage, saying its government would be harshly judged at the polls by Eskom’s failure to keep the lights on.